Lung disease is the number three killer in America, responsible for one in six deaths. October is recognized as Healthy Lung Month which honors the more than 35 million Americans currently living with a chronic lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Year round, the American Lung Association is working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.
Our lungs are responsible for the essential natural function that gets oxygen into the bloodstream so that it can be delivered to the cells of our body. Each day you breathe about 25,000 times, and by the time you are 70 years old, you'll have taken at least 600 million breaths.
Healthy Lung Month focuses on the support of healthy lungs by promoting the fight against lung disease, fighting air pollution, fighting smoking and secondhand smoke, and fighting childhood asthma.
There are many things you can do to keep your lungs healthy and strong including:
- If you don't smoke, don't start!
- If you smoke or use tobacco, quit; quitting is the most important thing you can do to keep your lungs healthy and prevent disease.
- Avoid secondhand smoke. Breathing the smoke from cigarettes and pipes increases your risk for the same diseases that affect people who smoke.
- Fight germs by washing your hands properly and covering your coughs and sneezes; this will help you prevent infectious lung diseases like the flu and colds
- Do your part to control outdoor air pollution
- Learn about indoor air pollution and what you can do to reduce your exposure
- Get moving! Regular physical activity is good for your whole body, especially your lungs
- If you have a chronic lung disease like asthma or COPD, work with your doctor to manage your symptoms and avoid flare-ups
Healthy Lung Month is a good time to remind yourself that not everyone has healthy lungs and that you can take steps to maintain your healthy lungs.
For more information regarding lung health, visit the American Lung Association at www.lung.org.
Article provided by Stephanie Monger, Intern from James Madison University working with Community Outreach.